NDFP to push free land in 4th round of talks

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    CLARK FREEPORT – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is expected to push for free land distribution to farmers in the fourth round of peace talks with the government.

    “The NDFP draft primarily pushes for free distribution of land to farmers and rural industrialization,” said Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao who urged “the peasant sector in the country to rally behind the working draft.”

    He noted that free land distribution was part of the declaration of principles within the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) adopted by the NDFP and the government negotiating panels so as “to dismantle land monopoly and to distribute land to the tillers for free.”

    “We urge traditional farmers’ organization, irrigators associations, municipal, city and provincial farmers associations and rural-based groups to support the NDFP CASER as it sincerely pushes for the welfare of poor peasants in the country as well as genuine development in the countryside,” Casilao said.

    He also urged local government officials in the provinces to support the draft.

    “The socio-economic reforms agenda of the Philippine government and the NDFP peace talks is an opening for fundamental reforms in the country and to address the root causes of the armed conflict involving the New People’s Army (NPA). Majority of the NPAs are farmers who were victimized by displacement, feudal and semi-feudal forms of exploitation, driven to bear arms to fight oppression and exploitation,” Casilao noted.

    He also said NDFP’s CASER draft also promotes “the provision of more farm technicians, agricultural credit to the tillers, post-harvest facilities, marketing agencies, irrigation systems, and farm-to-market roads shall be an integral part of the agrarian reform program.”

    “The peace talks remain to serve as an opportunity towards a just and lasting peace in the country, an NDFP version of an agreement on socio-economic reforms will certainly benefit the rural population that is more than half of the country’s, along with, we call for a stop to continued killing of farmers and militarization of communities in the countryside,” Casilao stressed.

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